I'm glad to see that Florida property taxes and the negative effects of the "Save Our Homes" amendment are finally being addressed in this year's legislative sessions. What concerns me the most however is that the new house proposals are leaning toward letting the voters decide on the new property tax structure. I have 5 top reasons why we shouldn't let voters decide.
1. One needs to remember that it was the Florida voters that got us into this unfair property tax mess to begin with when they passed the "Save Our Homes" amendment back in 1992.
2. Amendments tend to get approved by "headlines" or misleading proposal names like "Save Our Homes" and can get us into a bigger mess than we started with.
3. A voter approved amendment will take to long. If we let individual counties approve whatever they want it will take to 2010 and beyond. We need relief yesterday.
4. What happens if the voter amendment does fix what was broken when it is passed? Look how long its taken to discover that the "Save Our Homes" amendment was a mistake.
5. What happens if the amendment doesn't pass? Then we are back to square one and have lost the momentum for real tax relief.
Why don't we set out to fix the problem that was started back in 1992. I'm proposing that we go back to that year's property base and then add back 3% per year for inflation and whatever percentage the growth rate has been for those years to arrive at the amount our taxes would be today had the "Save Our Homes" never got passed in the first place. Then going forward we cap government spending every year to 3% plus growth rate instead of capping homesteaded property. This would bring much needed relief to second home owners, vacation properties and business owners. We could still keep the $25,000 homestead principle in place but the yearly cap of 3% would no longer be needed because of the cap on government spending. This would eliminate the problems and tax inequality that "Save Our Homes" has brought. Sometimes its the things that are the simplest that makes the most sense in solving complex problems. If you would like to contact your legislator about the recent tax proposals a county by county list is at http://politics.tampabay.com or visit www.tomburkett.com or my Tampa Bay Real Estate Blog at http://www.insidetampabayrealestate.blogspot.com